On Austin, part 1

Smooth arrival in Austin. First impressions (i.e., the cabbie ride from the airport to the hotel) suggests that people here eat a lot of tacos and have a lot of car problems. Every block along the highway into town had an automotive shop of some kind, a used car dealership, or a handful of taco vendor carts.

But it’s a completely different world here at the hotel — the Four Seasons — where they treat us with smiles and pleasantries at every possible moment. We’ve got a beautiful view of the lake from our room, with its running track, docks, and lots of green grass for relaxing in. On our first walk around the track, we saw a sweaty Kris Kristopherson out jogging.

We went to the Austin Convention Center, just across the street, and got our SXSW badges and a huge bag of fliers and advertisements and magazines for us to throw away.

The first official event of the festival was a “Friday Night Mix at Six”, a local bar that’s co-owned by Lance Armstrong. Even though we didn’t see Lance, we sure saw a lot of other people we “know”, be it from Kansas or virtually.

Chip Diffendaffer, from the University of Denver, had sent both Jessa & I an email a week or so earlier to tell us about a meet-up he was planning with all the University folk that attend the festival. Not sure why, but we sorta assumed that “University folk” meant a bunch of established baby-boomer old folk. That impression doesn’t really come from any actual empirical experience, nor from our understanding about the kinds of people that attend this festival, so it was just a bad assumption. Chip and his friend Ross were some cool young guys — just like us — and we decided to hang out with them for a while, out to the evening’s event.

A gregarious, kilted local man, Pat Ramsey, joined us and filled us in on lots of local landmarks.

Six had an open bar until eight. We got there in time to get one drink and mingle with the likes of Jim Coudal, Jeff Croft, Wilson Miner, James Asher, Mark Trammell, and many others, all of whom have websites I could link to but I’m too lazy.

By 8:30, it felt like 11, so we headed back the hotel, changed into our pajamas, and the hit the town looking for some supper. Jessa was getting cranky from hunger and sore feet, so we finally gave in to the always-delicious Jimmy Johns, despite our interest in finding something “local”.



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